Guide to business in Spain Guía de negocios en España


8. Auditing requirements

8. Auditing requirements

A law aimed at adapting Spanish law to Directive 2006/43/EC on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts was approved: Law 12/2010, of June 30, amending Spanish Audit Law 19/1988, of July 12, Spanish Securities Market Law 24/1988, of July 28, and the revised Spanish Corporations Law approved by Legislative Royal Decree 1564/1989, of December 22, to adapt them to Community legislation, and which, in its Final Provision No. 2 authorized the Government to prepare a recasting of the legal provisions referring to the audit activity. That recasting has been done through the approval, by Legislation Royal Decree 1/2011, of July 1, of the Revised Audit Law, and of its implementing Regulations by Royal Decree 1517/2011, of October 31.

The main amendments, with respect to the legislation established previously in Law 19/1988, are the following:

  • It adapts the Spanish Audit Law to the changes that have taken place in Spanish corporate/commercial and accounting law in recent years.
  • It amends the liability system for auditors, who must assume full liability in relation to consolidated financial statements or accounting documents, meaning that their liability cannot be restricted to the group companies that had been audited by them.
  • It specifies the system of legal sources that must be used in performing the audit, which will be (i) audit standards, (ii) ethics rules, and (iii) the rules governing the internal quality assurance system of auditors and audit firms. With respect to audit standards, it introduces the international audit standards that will be adopted by the European Commission, and keeps the Spanish audit standards in force until those international standards are adopted.
  • It reduces the public disclosure period for audit standards before they are published by the Accounting and Audit Institute from six to two months.
  • It amends the regulations on the Official Auditors' Register, on which anyone who is authorized to perform audits must be registered. Audits can be performed by persons authorized in another EU Member State and by auditors from other countries who are registered. It describes the public information that the Register must contain on the auditors and audit firms, and envisages electronic access to the Register. It makes registration in the Official Auditors' Register compulsory for auditors and audit firms who issue auditor's reports in relation to the financial statements of certain companies domiciled outside the European Union, whose shares are admitted for trading in Spain.
  • It reinforces the duties of independence and secrecy that must be observed by auditors in performing audits. In this regard, the Audit Regulations clarify the set of actions that must be performed by auditors in the observance of their duty of independence, and delimit the causes which lead to incompatibility for them. Moreover, the duty of secrecy extends to anyone taking part in the performance of audits.

Guide to business in Spain

Annex III. Accounting and audit issues


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